On the Cutting Edge of Product Development
You want to wow your customers with your new product. But you also need it to be affordable and simple to manufacture at scale. You might go through hundreds of prototypes trying to get it right. James Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of his eponymous vacuum! And, with constantly developing technologies to keep up with, choosing a fabrication method is its own challenge.
Longtime FORGE partner and full-service product development company Empire Group brings 23 years of experience to guide startups to commercial production, using technology to improve the R&D process, specializing in industrial design, engineering, advanced prototyping, 3D printing, CNC machining, and injection molding. Founder, maker, and car fanatic Jason Enos grew up working the paint booth at his family’s auto business, then honed his fabrication skills at Hasbro.
“I didn’t know a career existed like this until being exposed to the Model Shop at Hasbro when I was 19 years old. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do,” Enos said. In 1999, he founded Empire. The company has grown to over 40 employees, adopting cutting-edge tools and methods along the way.
“The minute we could afford a 3D printer or anything technology-driven that could simplify our process and add value to our client needs, we aggressively took action and never looked back,” Enos said.
Empire’s focus on emerging technologies extends to the products they prototype and manufacture. One of Enos’ favorites is a medical device, Improved Insulin Delivery (IID). Empire teamed up with startup MacFarlane Medical via FORGE to work on the IID. The device combines the best features of daily injections and insulin pumps to make life with diabetes easier. Empire’s production-level design and prototyping on the device helped MacFarlane win $15,000 in funding.
“The relationship with FORGE is very important to us. It offers a snapshot into what new unique products are being developed, providing us with critical data,” Enos said. With FORGE, Empire has worked with startups on everything from medical devices to consumer goods. They’re always looking for the next unusual manufacturing challenge, and FORGE partners have been great resources.
Dozens of startups have been referred by FORGE to Empire over years of partnership, resulting in over a dozen known contracts and purchase orders to make innovative products in MA. Empire attends FORGE workshops to deepen connectivity with the local startup community. These connections keep Empire on their toes, ready to solve the hardest problems in the shifting product development landscape.
So, what’s next? Enos said the ability to rapidly prototype injection molding tools with 3D printing is a big development. He’s looking forward to higher adoption rates for injection molding at the R&D level because of it. “I am most excited for the continuing changes in how things are made, and what it will mean for manufacturers, startups, and all involved.”
Read more information on MacFarlane Medical here.